Friday, January 27, 2012

Anyone Can Do That

My supervisor wants to know why I'm not working on
stories that will pay and allow me to spend more money
on crunchies.
Writing is work. It's a job.

Yeah, I know. Obvious, right?

Except it isn't to some people, even those who claim to be writers. It hasn't always been obvious to me and I've been extolling the virtue of writers keeping track of their time for a long while now.

A storyteller has to keep track of how much time a story takes. Not to figure out how much they're not getting paid, that's madness. No, keep track of the time so that when, later on, you are better at it you can see your progress. That's a great way to make yourself feel a helluva lot better about doing something that a lot of folks think they can do, too.

Not everyone can do what a writer does. Sure, there are a ton of books that purport to teach the Average Joe how to write a book and some of them are even helpful. I own a couple. I'm not criticizing the advice and I'm not criticizing those who seek that advice and follow it. In fact, I admire anyone who's got the stones to investigate the possibility of being a writer. Good for you and if you let me know you're out there, I'll do what I can to support you.

What I will criticize is the rube who declaims, "Huh. I can do that."

Go right ahead. However, don't diminish someone who's trying to do something by saying that 'any idiot' can do the same. That's absolutely not true and the idiot isn't the person who attempts something. No the idiot is the person so sees someone try and fail and claims they're an idiot. Look, idiocy is rampant in the world and everyone is capable of doing something to make the world a better place. I'm not a farmer but I admire anyone who can plant crops that feed more than just one family and make a living at it. I can't do that. I'm not a rocket scientist, either, nor a politician or painter or athlete. I'm not a cop or in the military and I don't work for any government agency.

I have my own day job and I'm a writer. I used to have skills at being a visual artist (drawing) and at being a musician (clarinet, bass clarinet, guitar and bass guitar) but I've let those lapse in favor of being a writer, a storyteller. I appreciate what it takes to be a rock star. It's hard work and damn if you aren't in the spotlight which is merciless. Especially if you're good at it and especially if a lot of people like your music.

Everything that makes the world a wonderful place to live requires someone to do the work that makes it so. Not everyone can do everything. Unless you put your mind to it.

Yeah, anyone can be a writer. How many stories have you written?